"In this body of work, I wanted to explore the contrasts between light and dark, the use of negative space and to use a looser style brush stroke to build up form and shape, whilst retaining a true-to-life depiction of the horse. My larger canvases depict studies of Friesian horses, a typically black horse, but flecks of violets, blues, ochres and siennas gleam from their glossy coats, illustrating that everything isn’t always simply black or white.
The darkness of the canvas and the emergence of the horse symbolises that no matter how dark, how bleak and how empty things may seem, beauty, power and strength can prevail.
The stag paintings stem from a desire to paint our native wildlife in all its splendor. Having witnessed the rut in Killarney and seen how explosively powerful these creature can be, I wanted to capture their beauty and strength in as realistic way as possible. I used a natural linen, primed with rabbit skin to give it an under lying warmth, and did away with any “background” so we can concentrate entirely on the animal in front of us. I wanted to capture the tense feeling of whether he will charge or take flight." Tony O'Connor
Born in Kerry in 1977, Tony O’Connor studied Fine Art at Crawford College of Art & Design where he also gained his Higher Diploma in Art Education. Presently, Tony can be found working at his Cork-based studio, creating ever-evolving pieces of equine art.
Tony is proudly connected with the Irish Horse Welfare Trust, having designed their Christmas cards for the previous three years. He is also currently involved with Redwings Equine Charity in the United Kingdom.
Tony has a disciplined approach in his study of horse anatomy, and puts a great emphasis on technical execution. As with much of his work, the void of background and simplicity of the pieces serve to highlight the natural physical perfection of these animals. Anyone who appreciates classic elegance cannot but be drawn in.
"...an exhibition of stunning paintings of the magnificent beasts" Donal Nolan The Kerryman